A new interactive classroom featuring a Vietnam-era aircraft is now open in Utah. The re-purposed C-130 Hercules is one of five such classrooms at Hill Air Force Base.
Before Aaron Clark managed the Ogden museum he was a firefighter with the Air Force.
"The first aircraft that I kind of supported was what we called "heavies"; the C-130's, the C-5's, the C-17's," Clark said. "And I like the smell. When I walked into it, it just took me back. To me, that was really cool."
An old C-130 aircraft has been taken from storage, striped down, refurbished and connected to the outside of the museum’s second gallery, where it is now a permanent part of the Lt. Gen. Marc C. Reynolds Aerospace Center for Education.
"People can go inside and they can get in the cockpit, they can sit in the cargo seats, they can smell the smell and then they can touch the equipment inside,” he said. “It is going to complement our already existing education program we already have right now.”
Original gauges and webbed seats have been installed, windows replaced and doors sealed up so it looks like a working C-130.
"The best way to describe a C-130 is loud," Clark said while chuckling. "You get a feel for what the pilot feels in the Air Force. We actually have a sound system that actually pushes the sound of the C-130 engine throughout the aircraft, so you get to hear that too. It is really neat."
Clark says the interactive classroom includes lessons integrated with STEM that are related to aerospace, where Utah students can conduct scientific experiments and hold competitions, all in the bay of an actual aircraft. But, unlike the original aircraft, the re-purposed C-130 has been painted and outfitted with heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
The interactive classroom is now open to the public at the Hill museum in Ogden.